Baker & Taylor
The first in-depth study of the savings and loan crisis of the eighties reveals the unprecedented scope of the financial fraud and political collusion involved and the leniency of the criminal justice system in dealing with the culprits. UP. University of California Press
"An important, arresting book."--Michael Rogin, author of Blackface, White Noise
"This is a great book. Well written and argued, extensively documented, it is without doubt the definitive report on the S & L scandals. Calavita, Pontell and Tillman lay to rest, once and for all, the convenient canard that 'bad management' and 'bad economic conditions' caused the S & L disaster. Their clear, careful analyses make it crystal clear that massive insider fraud was basic in every sense."--Laureen Snider, Queens University (Ontario, Canada)
At a cost of $500 billion to American taxpayers, the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s was the worst financial crisis of the twentieth century as well as a crime unparalleled in American history. Yet the vast majority of its perpetrators will never be prosecuted, and those who were have received minimal sentences. In the first in-depth scrutiny of the ways and means of this disaster, this groundbreaking book comes to disturbing conclusions about the deliberate nature of this financial fraud, the political collusion involved, and the leniency of the criminal justice system in dealing with these "Gucci-clad white-collar criminals."Blackwell North Amer
Using material from over one hundred interviews with government officials and industry leaders and recently declassified documents, the authors show howcontrary to previous government and "expert" explanations that chalked the disaster up to business risks gone awry or adverse economic conditionsS&L leaders engaged in deliberate fraud, stealing from their own corporations to speculate on high-risk ventures. Tempted by the insurance net, perpetrators looted their own institutions in a new kind of white-collar crime the authors dub "collective embezzlement."
Big Money Crime also demonstrates how systematic political collusionnot just policy errorswas a critical ingredient in this unprecedented series of frauds. Bringing together statistics from a variety of government agencies, the authors provide a close reading of the track record of prosecutions and sentencing and find that "suite crime" receives much more lenient treatment than "street crime," despite its significantly higher price tag. The book concludes with a number of modest, but no less urgent, policy recommendations to counter the current deregulatory trend and to avert a replay of the S&L debacle in other financial sectors.
FROM THE BOOK:"We built thick walls; we have cameras; we have time clocks on the vaults . . . all these controls were to protect against somebody stealing the cash. Well, you can steal far more money, and take it out the back door. The best way to rob a bank is to own one."House Committee on Government Operations, 1988
How did a handful of savings and loan executives bring about one of the worst financial disasters of the twentieth century? Examining the S&L crisis as a series of white-collar crimes unparalleled in the history of the United States, Kitty Calavita, Henry Pontell, and Robert Tillman debunk a number of the myths that permeate popular understanding of this multi-billion-dollar disaster.
Tempted by the insurance net and federal deregulation aimed at encouraging growth in the banking industry, S&L leaders deliberately defrauded their depositors, stole from their own corporations, and speculated on high-risk ventures with government-insured capital. What the government ultimately chalked up to failed business investments and a sluggish economy, Calavita, Pontell, and Tillman identify as a new type of white-collar crime, committed deliberately against S&L customers and the government.
Using material gathered in over one hundred interviews with government officials and recently declassified documents, Calavita, Pontell, and Tillman draw disturbing conclusions about the deliberate nature of the crimes, the political collusion they involved, and the leniency of the justice system in dealing with "big money" criminals.